Against All Odds
The family trained Faith by holding a spoonful of peanut butter above her. They motioned for her to come and rejoiced in every small victory. "When she took that first hop, we totally rewarded her with peanut butter and gummy bears and hugs and kisses," says Jude, Faith's adoptive mother.
Watch Faith the Dog walk!
Jude's daughter, Laura, says seeing Faith walk for the first time caused the whole family's jaws to drop. "It was like seeing a baby ... take their first steps," she says. "You're like, 'My baby—she can walk!"
"We had to take care of her," Laura says, "[and] make sure she's okay. That's what made us less selfish."
Faith spreads the love she's received from the Stringfellows. As a therapy dog, she interacts with students learning English as a Second Language (ESL) by providing companionship and emotional support to kids trying to improve their reading.
"Isn't this a miracle dog?" Oprah says. "If this dog can do this, it makes you think, 'What can I do?'"
As the 911 operator tried to keep Anthony on the phone, the call took a frightening turn. Anthony's father, who had just killed his wife, and brutally stabbed his son, returned to the house.
"I threw up a prayer," says Police Sergeant Mark Eakes. "I didn't know if he was going to make it. I specifically remember looking into his eyes and just—I've seen a death look, as we call it, before. And he had that look in his eyes."
"It almost didn't seem real," says fireman Jeff Colquhoun. "Any time I'm in situations like that, that seem to be maybe more than I can handle, I'm always hoping that there's an extra sets of hands, let's say, guiding me."
Though Anthony now lives with his aunt in Florida—thousands of miles away from the Tillicum, Washington neighborhood where he was attacked—he has forever inspired those who helped save his life.
"Anthony has courage. He reminded us all of what that is again," Sergeant Eakes says. "Out of all the calls I've been to and all the tragic events I've been to, Anthony is number one, as far as remembering."
Kristin, the 911 operator, tells Anthony, "You really showed me what bravery is and what faith is. And you restored my faith in God, as well, that day. I know you didn't choose to be a part of my life, but you've become one by who you are and what you've done."
Anthony's father pled guilty to first-degree murder and assault. He received a sentence of more than 27 years in prison.
What Brad's teachers, friends and family didn't understand was that he had no control over the strange sounds he was making and no idea what was happening to his body.
Unable to control his outbursts, Brad says his teachers began punishing him for acting out in class. Finally, when Brad was 12 years old, he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Tourette syndrome. At the time, few understood the disorder...especially Brad's classmates. "I had no friends," he says. "The mean kids would parade around me and mock the noises that I was doing."
Then, Brad's principal came up with an idea that changed the course of his life. He suggested that Brad stand up in front of the school and share his personal struggle with Tourette's. Brad was stunned by the response he received. "Everybody started to clap for me," he says. "It was really the first time in my life that I was positively reinforced for having Tourette syndrome. It was on that day that I realized the power of education."
Then, after 24 interviews, Brad finally met someone who believed in him. Hilarie Straka, an assistant principal and former speech pathologist, convinced a reluctant elementary school principal that Brad was the best person for the job.
"He was everything that we look for in a teacher," Hilarie says. "I said, 'We can't just talk the talk. We need to walk the walk and show these parents and students that we can hire somebody with a disability.'"
Brad was hired to teach second grade. In 1997, he won the state of Georgia's First Year Teacher Award.
Every year on the first day of school, Brad says he sits his students down and has an open discussion about Tourette syndrome. "I tell them that their teacher's a little different," he says. "I break it down to kid language saying that there's something in my brain that tells me to make noises just like there's something in your brain that tells you to blink your eyes. They can't stop, and I can't stop."
By being open and honest about his disorder, Brad hopes to instill confidence in children that may feel different. "I'm able to show them that just because you have some sort of disability, just because you're different, just because you have some sort of weakness, you can still be successful," he says. "I want these children to say, 'If Mr. Cohen can do it, then so can I.'"
Tajil: Mr. Cohen taught me not to make fun of other people.
David: He's really nice, and he teaches us a lot of stuff—not just math and reading—but how to be a better person.
Kate: I've learned to treat kids like you would want to be treated.
Tritt Elementary fifth grader Andrew has Tourette syndrome. "To me, it's kind of difficult," he says. "Kids were teasing me. Things got easier for me when Mr. Cohen came. I can just tell them that I have Tourette syndrome, and they know what it is."
After five hours of hiking and with daylight dwindling, the two decided to set up their camp. Later that evening, Warren left the campsite in search for a place to use the bathroom. Suddenly, a granite boulder weighing 2,000 pounds broke loose and fell, pinning Warren's legs.
Hearing his hiking mate's screams, Geert rushed to help. He tried for four hours to push and pry the boulder free, but it would not budge. It then started pouring down rain, filling the dry riverbed up to Warren's hips. He knew before long the water could go over his head. "If I thought I was in trouble before, now I'm really in trouble," says Warren.
"I'm in a position where I'm totally relying on this guy that I've met the day before. Even as he's walking away, I'm calling out, 'Go slow! Walk in the bushes. You have to make it out," Warren says.
On his downward hike, Geert repeatedly fell down the steep, slippery decline. At one point, an army of venomous Australian green tree ants attacked him. His only option was jumping into a nearby pool of water while still wearing his camping pack.
Meanwhile, at their makeshift camp, Warren noticed a patch of water near his foot filling with his blood. He then watched as a fresh-water crayfish crawled up and started biting his foot. "I feel like now I'm living in some kind of horror movie," Warren says.
The rescuers were able to free Warren approximately 45 hours after he was first crushed under the boulder. Both of Warren's legs had to be amputated.
Warren says he had no choice but to hold on for life. "I think we all have this built in survival mechanism," he says. "I used to joke, 'What do you think I might have done? Hold my breath? Strangle myself?' But we have to survive. I discovered that we've got this incredible power [to stay alive]."
Geert says the entire experience was one he'll never forget. "First finding him. Realizing that I couldn't get him out after working with him all night. Having to leave him behind in the morning, it was very hard," he says.
He recounts his amazing survival and astounding comeback in his book, A Test of Will: One Man's Extraordinary Story of Survival.
Warren says losing both of his legs has not been an entirely bad experience. In fact, he says he does not even necessarily wish that it had never happened. "I've learned ... how infinitely more powerful each of us is, and how responsible we are for creating our reality," he says. "It wasn't in my reality—the same as it's not in most people's—for a guy with no legs to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro. So I set out to create that reality."